Saturday, June 10, 2017

Clovis, New Mexico

I have a rule while traveling, not to drive more than 3 hours per day.  On this day my rule brought me to Clovis, New Mexico.  Needing a map of New Mexico and an idea of what might be interesting to see in Clovis I stopped at the Chamber of Commerce and discovered, tucked away in the basement of their building, this interesting museum... 

I was in a time warp--back to 1957!

This museum is located in the original Norman and Vi Petty recording Studio.

Only a female my age would snap back in memory to bobby sox, poodle skirts,  and lacquer hairspray; or for a male, duck tails, tight jeans with turned up cuffs and cigarette packs rolled up in a t-shirt sleeve.  Good grief!  That was 60 years ago!

The Norman Petty Trio came along later in the fifties.  "Mood Indigo was a good-sized hit for the group and was followed up by "On the Alamo".  The success of the trio allowed Norman to build a recording studio in his hometown of Clovis, New Mexico where Buddy Holly became one of the most important figures in the history of rock music.

The juke box was playing the entire time I was there.  I wanted to dance but I was the only one in the museum.  If some poor tourist had wandered in I would have accosted him with a challenge to 'bop'.

In 1955 Norman Petty opened a recording studio in his hometown of Clovis.  A risky venture at the time, the Petty Studio went on to produce some of the greatest rock and roll of the late fifties.

Petty's earliest recordings included early Roy Orbison, Charlie Phillips (Sugartime), Buddy Knox (Party Doll), Buddy Holly and the Crickets (That'll be the Day, Peggy Sue, Fade Away, It's so Easy, Heartbeat), plus many more.

The Studio had a unique feel and sound.  Petty used state of the art recording equipment and technology.  The recordings were rockabilly in flavor but had a cleaner and more polished feel than sessions cut at other studios.  

After Holly's tragic death in 1959, Petty shuttered the original studio.

The Altec Control Board is the original board from the Norman Petty Studios used on the Buddy Holly hit song, "That'll be the Day", recorded in 1957.   

February 3, 1959, the day the music died.

I spent the night in a small RV park then took off very early the next morning for Santa Fe.  As I left the town I saw a sign directing to the 'dig' where the first Clovis Spear Point had been found in 1929.  (Clovis Spear points date to the early Paleoindian period roughly 13,000 years ago) 
I did not have time to explore but now I want to go back.  Who knew the tiny town of Clovis would be so interesting?


  1. Nothing wrong with dancing by yourself!:-)

  2. There were cameras all over the place. I was afraid I might become a YouTube sensation and there would go my private life.